Pastor Ray Johnson and his wife, Helen, were overjoyed when Sally, their new parishioner, stated she never had found a fellowship as loving and supportive as First Christian. "In fact," Sally added, "never have I met a pastoral couple as caring and sensitive as you two." Sally, age 32, recounted how over the past ten years, other Christians had misunderstood and mistreated her repeatedly. Her intelligence, insight, and willingness to take on any task assured Ray and Helen that Sally was a fortunate addition to their small fellowship.

All went well for the first two months. Although Sally indicated her husband tried to prevent her from coming to church, she attended every service, often bringing her four children, ages 5 to 15. The Johnsons spent hours encouraging and counseling her. Sally would call at night after having seen the Johnsons for an hour or two during the day; she complained of her selfish and sadistic husband and praised the Johnsons for their understanding.

Three months after ...

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